Now we are able to understand how the Buddha became enlightened. What happened was an unfolding of Abhiññās fired once he toured the four jhānas. The first special knowledge was the memory of past lives in the first part of the night.Then, immersed in samadhi, he developed the clairvoyance with which he could see the beings dying and being reborn and he understood that they were reborn depending on his works, that is how he understood kamma. The third part of the night, understanding that everything was suffering and extended to the knowledge of the end of impurities, and understood the four noble truths. Knowing and seeing thus, his mind freed itself from the impurities of sensuality, the desire to be reborn and ignorance. When he was released, he knew that he was liberated, that he is the Abhiñña of the certainty of the emancipation already achieved.
Once finished, the Mahābrahmā Sahampati appears with whom he establishes a dialogue in which he convinces him to teach. This dialogue is possible thanks to Clariaudience or divine hearing.
As we see, the Buddha’s enlightenment was done with the four jhānas that led him to activate four Abhiññās and with them, he attained Enlightenment.
Remember the six Abhiññās:
- Iddhi (cp. Levitation); This point, although it is named in several passages, is reviled by the Buddha, apart from the fact that it does not appear as if someone has done it.
- The Divine Ear (cp Clariaudience);
- Knowledge of the thoughts of others (cp Reading of thought);
- Memory of previous births;
- Knowledge of the rebirths of others;
- Certainty of the emancipation already reached (final assurance)
This list appears only in DN.iii.281 as a list of Abhiññās.
This is the discourse where he explains the process of Enlightenment:
Collection of Medium Length Discourses
MN 85 With Prince Bodhi
After eating solid foods and accumulating my strength, quite isolated from sensual pleasures, isolated from unskillful qualities, I entered and remained in the first absorption … second absorption … third absorption … fourth absorption. When my mind had immersed itself in samādhi in this way (purified, bright, unblemished, spotless, flexible, manageable, stable and imperturbable), I extended it to the memory of past lives. I remembered many past lives. That is: one, two, three, four, five, ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, one hundred, one thousand, one hundred thousand rebirths; many eons of the world contract, many eons of the world evolve, many eons of the world contract and evolve. And so I remembered my many types of past lives, with features and details. This was the first knowledge, which I achieved in the first clock of the night. Ignorance was destroyed and knowledge emerged; the darkness was destroyed and the light arose, as happens with a meditator who is diligent, enthusiastic and resolute.
When my mind had immersed itself in samādhi in this way (purified, bright, spotless, spotless, flexible, manageable, stable and imperturbable), I extended it to the knowledge of the death and rebirth of sentient beings. With a purified and superhuman clairvoyance , I saw sentient beings passing and reborn, inferior and superior, beautiful and ugly, in a good or bad place. I understood how sentient beings are reborn according to their works. This was the second knowledge, which I achieved in the middle guard of the night. Ignorance was destroyed and knowledge emerged; the darkness was destroyed and the light arose, as happens with a meditator who is diligent, enthusiastic and resolute.
When my mind had immersed itself in samādhi in this way (purified, bright, spotless, spotless, flexible, manageable, stable and undisturbed), I extended it to the knowledge of the end of impurities . I really understood: «This is suffering» … «This is the origin of suffering» … «This is the cessation of suffering» … «This is the practice that leads to the cessation of suffering». I really understood: «These are impurities» … «This is the origin of the impurities» … «This is the cessation of impurities» … «This is the practice that leads to the cessation of impurities». Knowing and seeing thus, my mind freed itself from the impurities of sensuality, the desire to be reborn and ignorance. When he was released, I knew he was released. I understood: ‘The rebirth is over; the spiritual journey has been completed; What had to be done has been done; there is no return to any state of existence. « This was the third knowledge, which I achieved in the last clock of the night. Ignorance was destroyed and knowledge emerged; the darkness was destroyed and the light arose, as happens with a meditator who is diligent, enthusiastic and resolute.
Then it occurred to me: «This principle that I have discovered is profound, difficult to see, difficult to understand, peaceful, sublime, beyond the reach of reason, subtle, understandable to the astute. But people like attachment, love it and enjoy it. It is difficult for them to see this;that is, specific conditionality, dependent origination. It is also difficult for them to see this;that is, the quieting of all activities, the abandonment of all attachments, the end of desire, the disappearance, the cessation, the extinction. And if I had to teach the Dhamma, others might not understand me, which would be tiresome and annoying for me. « And then I came up with these verses, which were not inspired in a supernatural way or learned before in the past:
«I have fought hard to realize this,
just try to explain it!
This teaching is not easy to understand.
For those mired in greed and hatred.
Those caught in greed can not see
what is subtle, go against the current,
Deep, hard to see, and very thin.
because they are wrapped in a mass of darkness. «
And reflecting on that, my mind was inclined to remain passive, not to teach the Dhamma.
Then, Brahmā Sahampati, knowing what he was thinking, thought: «My God! The world will be lost, the world will perish! For the realized mind, the perfected one, the fully awakened Buddha, is inclined to remain passive, not to teach the Dhamma. «Then, Brahmā Sahampati, as easily as a strong person could extend or contract his arm, disappeared from the Brahmā.Kingdom and reappeared in front of the Buddha. He placed his tunic over one shoulder, knelt on his right knee, raised his palms towards the Buddha and said: «Lord, may the Blessed One teach the Dhamma! May the Saint teach the Dhamma! There are beings with little dust in their eyes. They are in decline because they have not heard the teaching. There will be those who understand the teaching! «That is what Brahmā Sahampati said. Then he went on to say:
«Among the Magadhans appeared in the past
An impure teaching thought by those still stained.
Throw the door to the immortals!
Let them listen to the teaching of the discovered stainless.
Standing on top of a rocky mountain,
You can see the people around you.
In the same way, every seer, wise,
Ascend the palace built of Dhamma!
You are free of pain; but look at these people
Overwhelmed by pain, oppressed by rebirth and old age.
Get up, hero! Victor in battle, leader of the caravan.
Wander the world without compromise.
May the Blessed One teach the Dhamma! |
There will be who understands! ‘
Then, understanding the invitation of Brahmā, I examined the world with the eye of a Buddha, due to my compassion for sentient beings. And I saw sentient beings with little dust in their eyes, and some with a lot of dust in their eyes; with sharp faculties and weak faculties, with good qualities and bad qualities, easy to teach and difficult to teach. And some of them lived seeing the danger in the fault that had to do with the next world, while others did not.It’s like a pool with blue water lilies or pink or white lotuses. Some of them sprout and grow in the water without rising above it, thriving underwater. Some of them sprout and grow in the water reaching the surface of the water. And some of them sprout and grow in the water, but they rise above the water and run out of water clinging to them. Then I replied in verse to Brahmā Sahampati:
«The doors open to the immortals open suddenly!
Let those with ears to hear decide their faith.
Thinking that it would be problematic, Brahmā, I did not teach
The sophisticated and sublime Dhamma among humans. «
Then, Brahmā Sahampati, knowing that his request to teach the Dhamma had been accepted, bowed and respectfully surrounded me, keeping me to his right, before disappearing there.
As we see, in spite of being exceptional qualities, the four main Abhiññās are in the same root and essence of Buddhism since without them, there is no possible illumination.